DALLAS – As the Dallas Mavericks ended their shootaround Thursday morning at American Airlines Center, Samuel Dalembert was walking very gingerly off the court.
It appeared as though Dalembert was struggling just to put one foot in front of the next one. And that's not exactly good news for the Mavs (43-29), who will desperately need theri center's height and length when they host the Los Angeles Clippers (50-22) tonight at 7:30 at the AAC.
“He’s got a stiff back,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “So we’ll try to get him ready for tonight.
“He’ll be a game time decision.’’
When asked if he was OK, Dalembert said: “I’ll be fine. I’m just a little stiff.’’
Dalembert is coming off his most impressive set of consecutive games of the season and he's really been in force in the middle lately.
In last Sunday’s 107-104 overtime lost to Brooklyn, Dalembert collected 12 points and season highs in rebounds (15) and blocked shots (seven). He also was 4-of-5 from the field while playing a season-high 35 minutes.
Then, in the Mavs’ 128-119 overtime victory against Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Dalembert produced 10 points and seven rebounds, and was 5-of-6 from the floor in 21 minutes.
If Dalembert is able to play tonight, the Mavs are hoping he’ll be able to withstand the pressure that’ll come from Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who leads the NBA in rebounds (13.7) and is third in blocks (2.42).
“There aren’t many guys that can matchup with Jordan’s size and length,’’ Carlisle said. “Sam’s one of the few guys that has size similar to Jordan – I don’t know if he’s that tall or that long, but he at least approaches it.
“It’s important to have a guy that can match up with a guy that can get above the rim and do the things that he can do.’’
-- Dwain Price
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